Target Reportedly Ramping Up Efforts To Address Shoplifting

Target Reportedly Ramping Up Efforts To Address Shoplifting

( – Target is reportedly planning to increase its efforts to prevent shoplifters from impacting its bottom line. The retailer will ask store staff to stop bandits from walking away if they tried to take $50 or more in merchandise without paying. Previously, they had set the limit to $100 in merchandise.

The retailer will begin enforcing the new policy this summer. Target’s chief financial officer, Michael Fiddelke, has previously said that shrink, which applies to inventory losses from all causes, including damage, theft by customers or employees, inventory tracking mistakes, spoilage, and other causes, is a major “headwind” for the company.

A spokesman for the chain said that the retailer prioritized “ensuring the safety of the team and guests.” He added that Target valued “maintaining [a] positive experience” for shoppers.

Retailers typically set policies and thresholds for apprehending or prosecuting shoplifters independently, according to asset protection and loss control experts. Yet, dollar values become unimportant in hazardous situations.

Retailers, including Target and Walmart, discourage employees from using physical force to stop thefts, including shoplifting or organized retail theft. Instead, stores have begun hiring security guards, adding cameras, and changing self-checkout lanes to reduce their losses.

However, the Brennan Center for Justice produced an in-depth report in March that showed nationwide crime data didn’t support the idea that shoplifting and other forms of retail crime had significantly increased despite temporary spikes in some cities. Overall, the Brennan Center report showed larceny and shoplifting trending down nationwide since 2019.

In April 2023, the National Retail Foundation (NRF) said that organized retail theft — large-scale theft events where organized groups coordinate to smash and grab typically high-value products quickly and then flee the scene — accounted for nearly half of the $94.5 billion in lost products in 2021. Yet, in December 2023, the NRF retracted the statement after a November 2023 investigative piece by Retail Dive, a trade publication.

The NRF revised its estimate of losses to organized retail theft to around 5% of the $94.5 billion, or about $4.725 billion. Both the Retail Dive and Brennan Center reports said that data remained questionable partly because of the imprecision surrounding definitions and reporting of shoplifting versus organized retail theft.

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